As a Perfectionist, you believe that there is a correct or right way to live, and you vigilantly scan for standards that are being violated and need to be restored and respected. The anger (or guilt) that you feel is a signal that something or somebody (including yourself) is wrong and needs to be corrected or punished. You express and neutralize anger (or guilt) by righting wrongs or correcting errors. This energy manifests differently through three instinctual subtypes.
Self-preservation: Worry and anxiety/tenseness
You believe that your very survival depends upon getting things right. Your life is about shoulds instead of wants and desires. You channel anger (or guilt) into perennial worry and anxiety about doing the right thing and not making mistakes. You don’t believe the world is either generous or forgiving, so ultimately you worry alone. You resent the unfairness of life, but so what? You still must avoid the annihilating punishment from your inner critic, the thought-and-desire policeman. So you keep busy doing self-preservation tasks that keep the anxiety away, such as cleaning, keeping things in order or stocking up on provisions. You attempt to assert control and impose order over the natural world in matters of self-survival. It can look like you would rather be right than happy. Rightness becomes an imperative despite your desire and longing. At your worst, this worry can become very limiting and accompanied by much inner tension and little pleasure.
In the social domain, you channel your desire for rightness and its associated tension and anger into correct positions. You make the system better or right according to your absolute standards. You become a social reformer so to speak. Where these are concerned, you become inadaptable or inflexible, and screen out evidence contrary to your fervent position. You not only find what is wrong with other groups, causes and convictions, but you also see what is wrong about your own group. There is one right way and you must support it. While you may become comfortable temporarily with a secure social role and clear set of rules, you later resent and then become driven to correct “deviance” from the correct standards. At your worst, you can become possessed by righteous anger and dominated by black-white thinking characterized by an inability to see differing viewpoints.
You guard intimate relationships and become vigilant and zealous about your conduct, your partner’s conduct or that of special others. You feel that nobody should violate your right to pleasure – you’ve earned it! You express anger through fierce zealousness at the presumed violation of your high standards. Nobody should take what is rightfully yours. “She shouldn’t do what she is doing.” Special others must adhere to correct behavior and standards. “You shouldn’t. You’re wrong.” This zealousness encompasses the violation of anything you judge as important in the relationship – a confidence, time spent together, getting undeserved recognition or fidelity. At your worst, you get totally possessive and intolerant, monitoring situations and special others, even flaming up in righteous rage.